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RSI or guitar injury?   You are logged in as Guest
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JasonM

Posts: 1491
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RSI or guitar injury? 

So about two or three months ago I was fervorously working on a picado passage until I noticed that my left thumb started to feel funny. I can't realy describe how my thumb felt, only to say that it felt weak and strained, as if someone bent the my thumb knuckle(the one closest to the nail) in the oposite direction then the way its supposed to be bent. No sharp pain or tingling sensation.

The stress on the thumb was very uncomfortable for many days, and was enough to convince me to suspend my playing for a while. So this week I start playing when the pain/feeling is back--after a two month break. I hardly have any strength in my thumb to use it for anything at the moment.

Most guitar related RSI is with the wrist from what I have read. Which makes sense to me. Furthur more, I don't really apply excessive pressure on the back of the neck with my thumb all of the time. So mabey I just strained a tendon or something. I find it alarming that after a two month break with little practice, and no problems with thumb at all in that time, I am aggravating this injury with a few days of guitar playing.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 12 2007 4:52:41
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to JasonM

i experienced a similar feeling with my hands.

mine was from a traumatic stress tho. the inside of my thumb (where it joins the hand) felt funny, like it was spongy. i put alot of effort in moving it, and little would happen.

turns out it was just a swollen tendon in the area. but i messed up the other ligaments and already had repetitive stress problems.

i would suggest some ibuprofen, lots of water and dr. farias' practice without playing dvd.

in your case.... you probably already knew that.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 12 2007 6:16:43
 
Stu

Posts: 1829
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to HemeolaMan

I'm am not an expert in injuries so I cannot offer any help, but I do have an injury story of my own to share.
For about 3 weeks I've had pain at the outside edge of the wrist on my left hand (I'm right handed) It seems to be localised where the e and a fingers join the wrist. I've taken a break from playing for a few days but it seems to return whenever I play, particularly when playing barre chords and using my little finger. Its becoming quite troublesome and I am gonna have to get to a doc to get it sorted.

Have you seen a doc Jason or has it improved??

Stu
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2007 10:31:18
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to JasonM

Hey Jason
I had a similar problem last year. I am physical therapist when I am not playing guitar and so I thought i would know exactly what to do but its not always that simple.
Pain is not a good symptom when you are playing. If something is painful to play....STOP. Either you are practising with bad hand position, body posture or simply over doing it. Tendon injuries are easy if you start off too quickly without warming up. A common problem is to start the next day where you left off the day before without warming up and this can cause injury. Second thing is to sit in a decent chair. Practising on the edge of your bed or sofa for 4 hours puts strain on your lower back, shoulders and ultimately your hands.
Most injury is simply local inflammation in a tendon or tendon sheath. It usually goes away with rest, topical anti inflammatory cream and ice compress. Sometimes strapping tape to imobilise the joint will help it settle. Normally these simple strains clear up in a few days. Ligamentous strain is unusual. stretching a ligament needs a force such as a fall etc. and it is not common to get ligamentous RSI although there maybe some local inflammation.
If inflammation remains for a long time, changes occur in the tissues and muscles. Nodules can build up on tendons, fibrous tissue (adhesions) build up in muscle tissue. Trigger points become active in the muscle bodies and the muscles become physically shorter. Avoiding a chronic problem is important because rest alone will not then return these tissues back to their normal state.
Acupunture is often a quick method of releasing these trigger points and reducing inflammation. This worked for me with my painful thumb. If not, then you need to consult a kineasiologist/osteopath/chiropractor to chck the joint is aligned and can offer trigger point/ tendon massage (quite painful) to get the muscles back to thier normal tone.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2007 11:12:37
 
henrym3483

Posts: 1517
Joined: Nov. 13 2005
From: Limerick,Ireland

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Pimientito

i had a similiar issue with guitar playing using a pick, when i first started. i got pain in the picking hand near the knuckle joint of the first finger, went away after some anti inflammatory pills and rest, hav'nt had problems with it since but i stopped me playing for over a month.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2007 12:16:37
 
hassurbanipal

 

Posts: 191
Joined: Jul. 14 2006
From: belgium

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to JasonM

well, I too have a problem at this moment but it's something strange. it doesn't hurt when I'm playing. it is my right shoulder and i suspect it's got nothing to do with guitar playing but it's weird because in some positions it doesn't hurt so I try to play as much guitar as I can so that it wouldn't hurt. talk about a good injury....:))
I know, I will probably need to give it some rest because it can be caused by guitar playing in some way or be inflicted by but maybe it just doesn't hurt in that position...
ah well...........

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2007 12:52:39
 
Stu

Posts: 1829
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Pimientito

quote:

topical anti inflammatory cream


Hey Pimientito.. Thanks for that.
I just bought some on the way home from work and after quite alot of wrist pain today, one application has erradicated all the pain, pretty much straight away.
I'm sure its not an instant cure, but hopefully continued application and care will see me right.

Stu
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2007 19:49:20
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Stu

I'll send you my bill
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2007 19:50:25
 
Stu

Posts: 1829
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Pimientito

quote:

I'll send you my bill


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2007 20:18:15
 
gato

Posts: 322
Joined: Jun. 9 2007
 

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to JasonM

What??? And pracitce medicine with out a license??? Take it easy for a while and try to build up your strength gradually, but if the problem still persists seek a professional care from a qualified doctor as Pimientito said, but pain remedies only mask the symptoms, and you could find more trouble down the road. And don't rely on the unqualified opinion. Your physician could talk to you and look at it and refer you to someone and suggest to you proper care, but when you get qualified care you know the hard fast rule is you have pay for it. That is the hard fast rule. A licensensed opinion takes money and you are not going to get it over the internet.
Gary
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2007 5:49:44
 
Stu

Posts: 1829
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to gato

Just got back from the hospital and, apparently I've got Tendonitis!!! ****!!!

Got a Splint for my wrist and a course of anti inflammatory tablets.
Been advised to see another doc and perhaps get referred to a sports physio incase it doesnt get better. Don't want to get a re occuring chronic injury.

So I guess I'll be practicing right hand techniques for a bit, which isn't so bad since my right hand could do with some attention.

Stu
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 20 2007 18:05:49
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Stu

Your gonna have to increase you sensitivity to tension in your body and that is a long journey but ultimately a very rewarding one. I carried a lot of pain for many years and the solution I found was something called Alexander Technique. All of the things your doctor reccomends may do some good but really you are gonna have to look at how you use your whole body and not just when you are playing.

Good luck.

PS If a few days rest is innefective then you should start using the hand again. Muscular atrophy takes place very quickly in the hands and the more you rest the more its gonna hurt when you start back. Try and work on a real good methodical warm up for you left hand lasting say ten minutes. Then rest it as you practice right hand only for a bit. Then repeat it.

Make sure you are not letting yourself get dehydrated. Try and keep physically active in general. Practice in front of a mirror and look at your whole body and in particular your head and neck. If you are stooped and tense in your whole body then it will be difficult to use your hands without tension. Try and cultivate the habit of stopping and assessing your posture and muscle tone very frequently as you play (play a bar, then think for a bar ).

Mentally you should take full responsibility for you condition now and dont try and blame it on your guitar or your body. Dont expect anyone else to fix it or a drug to fix it. Youve done it you can fix it.

Ive been pain free for about six years and it is good so there is light at the end of the tunnel. But you have to switch it on.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 20 2007 18:31:42
 
Escribano

Posts: 6068
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Stu

So, flamenco is in the right hand for right-handed players. Ever heard Tomatito percussing dampened strings on a live warm-up to get his group moving? Makes one realise how much of a snare drum the flamenco guitar really is.

The basic chords are simple enough, so that is not where the action is and arpeggios are only there for the canteor to take a swig of beer.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 20 2007 19:13:24
 
Stu

Posts: 1829
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to guitarbuddha

Hey guitarbuddha,
Thanks very much for taking time out to write your advice.
Funnily enough I am very familiar with the Alexander technique. I am an actor and it was one of my favourite classes at drama school. partly cos we did a lot of lying down. but mainly cos i really got me in tune with my body. I am 6'2" and quite slim and have a habit of slouching generally. I am going to really start taking more notice of my posture and tension in my playing and everyday life.
I had been reading a book called the healthy guitarist cos I was worried my posture and tension, when playing, was gonna cause difficulties at some stage.

I also think I need a new chair!!

Cheers for the advice.

Stu
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 21 2007 12:37:26
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Stu

Stu.......... you'll get through this quicker than I did I think
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 21 2007 13:06:07
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to guitarbuddha

quote:

ORIGINAL: guitarbuddha

Try and work on a real good methodical warm up for you left hand lasting say ten minutes. Then rest it as you practice right hand only for a bit. Then repeat it.

Make sure you are not letting yourself get dehydrated. Try and keep physically active in general. Practice in front of a mirror and look at your whole body and in particular your head and neck.


Great advice Buddha!!
Also good to hear you getting a new chair Stu. A decent office chair without arms and a back support costs about the same as a professional flight case. If you intend spending several hours a day practicing it is an essential investment.

BTW- is there really a book called "the healthy guitarist" - i'll look on amazon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 22 2007 11:52:46
 
Stu

Posts: 1829
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: RSI or guitar injury? (in reply to Pimientito

quote:

BTW- is there really a book called "the healthy guitarist" - i'll look on amazon


yeah there is... did you find it??

Its quite a hard read as the first half is very concerned with bones, muscles, tendons, joints etc and full of ugly medical talk, second half concentrates more on actual use of guitar and posture, exercises etc.

Stu
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 22 2007 13:53:39
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